To see ourselves as others do is a concept that can be overrated. You’ll get nowhere if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, worrying about what other people think. Why give head space to the knee jerk doubters who oppose anything new almost as a matter of principle. Or as the Irish saying goes – “F**k the begrudgers”. (It’s not one you find on decorative tea towels. Nor does it include the Fr Teddish “feck“. But I find it comes in handier more often than the road rising to meet you and being in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.)
Seen from Europe the Tea Party phenomenon seems to be fizzing with crazies, bigots, racists, ex witches, anti masturbators, science deniers, the deluded and opportunists. But esteemed blogmates in the United States appear very taken with the Tea Partiers. Not in a blindingly uncritical way, but generally approving. (And to avoid any misunderstanding, I don’t use the word “esteemed” in an ironic way, but genuinely.)
So normal decent hopeful people must surely far outnumber the TP nutters.
The negatives that drive it are clear – unemployment, disillusionment, suspicion of the state – and some nastier strains too. Sure Obama, the Democrats and politicians in general are a disappointment. But leaving aside the wish to punish or lash out, where’s the positive appeal of the Tea Party?
That’s not a rhetorical question? I’m asking for answers.
This is how one respected correspondent, Gary Younge of the (liberal/left) Guardian newspaper, portrays the Tea Party masses – an army facing the wrong way, fighting for an elite that holds them in contempt and works against their interests.
Here’s another, crosser voice. George Monbiot is an well known active environmental campaigner in the UK and it’s no surprise to find him launching a broadside from the left. So TP fans may be tempted to write him off. And he is a bit more insulting.
According to George Monbiot, the Tea Party rank and file are passionate well-meaning people who have been duped by the super wealthy. He describes the movement as “one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen – and the biggest Astroturf operation in history.”
So as we approach the mid terms on November 2nd, anyone fancy responding to the two pieces above? Maybe we’re getting a bum steer about the Tea Party over in Europe. If so we’re – well, I’m – open to enlightenment. Why are we/Are we getting it so wrong?
I’ll be tuning in to Rhod in America and Dotun to hear how the campaigning pans out.